[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The inhibitory receptor programmed death-1 (PD-1) has the capacity to maintain peripheral tolerance and limit immunopathological damage; however, its precise role in fulminant viral hepatitis (FH) has yet to be described. Here, we investigated the functional mechanisms of PD-1 as related to FH pathogenesis induced by the murine hepatitis virus strain-3 (MHV-3). High levels of PD-1-positive CD4(+), CD8(+) T cells, NK cells and macrophages were observed in liver, spleen, lymph node and thymus tissues following MHV-3 infection. PD-1-deficient mice exhibited significantly higher expression of the effector molecule which initiates fibrinogen deposition, fibrinogen-like protein 2 (FGL2), than did their wild-type (WT) littermates. As a result, more severe tissue damage was produced and mortality rates were higher. Fluorescence double-staining revealed that FGL2 and PD-1 were not co-expressed on the same cells, while quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that higher levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α mRNA transcription occurred in PD-1-deficient mice in response to MHV-3 infection. Conversely, in vivo blockade of IFN-γ and TNF-α led to efficient inhibition of FGL2 expression, greatly attenuated the development of tissue lesions, and ultimately reduced mortality. Thus, the up-regulation of FGL2 in PD-1-deficient mice was determined to be mediated by IFN-γ and TNF-α. Taken together, our results suggest that PD-1 signaling plays an essential role in decreasing the immunopathological damage induced by MHV-3 and that manipulation of this signal might be a useful strategy for FH immunotherapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Co-inhibitory signals from the B7 superfamily have been demonstrated to induce T cell dysfunction in chronic HBV infection (CHB). However, the expression and function of Z39Ig, a new inhibitor of the B7 superfamily, is still unclear in CHB. Here immunohistochemical staining showed that Z39Ig was restricted to macrophages and that its level was decreased significantly in CHB patients compared to healthy controls. Moreover, reduced Z39Ig expression was positively correlated with plasma HBV load but was inversely related to serum alanine aminotransaminase levels. Further, Z39Ig mRNA had a negative relation to IFN-gamma in vivo, and IFN-gamma also down-regulated Z39Ig expression on monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) in a time- and dose-dependent manner in vitro. Interestingly, Z39Ig expression on MDMs was restored when IFN-gamma neutralizing antibodies were added to the T cell/MDM co-culture system, indicating that the IFN-gamma derived from activated-T cells may contribute to the reduction of Z39Ig in the CHB environment. Our results suggest that T cells can opposite T cell hyporesponsiveness through dampening Z39Ig inhibitory signals from macrophages and thus maintain their anti-viral function in CHB. Therefore, decreasing Z39Ig signals from macrophages could contribute to CHB clinical therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cross-talk between the hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) and B7-H1 in hepatocarcinoma (HCC) is unclear. This study analyzed the potential relationships between HBx and B7-H1 in hepatocarcinogenesis. One of human HCC cell lines, HepG2 cells, was transfected to stably express HBx protein (HBx(+)-HepG2). The transcription of B7-H1 mRNA was increased significantly in these cells compared to cells transfected with control vector (HBx(-)-HepG2), as confirmed by a comparative genome-wide microarray analysis (Capitalbio) and real time quantitative PCR (qPCR). Flow cytometry and western-blot further demonstrated that B7-H1 protein synthesis was enhanced in HBx(+)-HepG2 cells. Site-directed mutagenesis of promoter constructs revealed that the transcription factor (NF)-κB binding site between 128 and 137 bp upstream of B7-H1 gene transcriptional start site is primarily responsible for HBx-mediated B7-H1 expression. Co-culture experiments with HBx(+)-HepG2/T cells showed that the number of apoptotic T cells increased profoundly, and this effect could be partially prevented when a neutralizing mAb against B7-H1 was added to the culture, demonstrating that B7-H1 signaling can promote T cell apoptosis. Our results suggest that the expression of B7-H1 in hepatocarcimona cells can be initiated by HBx antigen, thus inducing T cell apoptosis and finally potentially facilitates the genesis of HCC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased lymphocyte apoptosis has been suggested to contribute to the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but the critical factors involved in the apoptotic pathways are still unknown. By long serial analysis of gene expression (LongSAGE) profiles and microarray analyses, a novel apoptosis-related gene BclG(L) expression was found significantly increased in peripheral blood CD4+ T cells of SLE patients, which was correlated with the enhanced CD4+ T cells apoptosis, anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) titer and proteinuria. In vitro, BclG(L) expression could be specially upregulated by SLE serum stimulation and positively correlated with induced CD4+ T cell apoptosis. Enforcing BclG(L) overexpression by lentivirus could directly enhance CD4+ T cell apoptosis, but these apoptosis-inducing effects could be partially inhibited by knockdown of BclG(L) expression. Collectively, these results indicate that increased BclG(L) expression may contribute to the aberrant CD4+ T cell apoptosis which causes an inappropriate immune response and impaired homeostasis in SLE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The co-inhibitory molecule B7-H1 has been broadly detectable on human inflammatory renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs) and is proposed to limit tubular damage through down-regulation of tubulointerstitial infiltration T cell activation. Nevertheless, factors that initiate B7-H1 expression on TECs remain unclarified. The terminal complement complex C5b-9, which deposits diffusely on tubules and glomerules of diseased kidneys, is now recognized as a mediator that triggers cellular activation rather than inducing cell death. Whether the up-regulation of B7-H1 on tubules is also induced by C5b-9 is uncertain. Here, after assembling functional sublytic C5b-9 on the membranes of TECs based on purified complement components, we found that B7-H1 gene transcription and protein synthesis was enhanced by C5b-9. Promoter constructs in a luciferase assay, site-directed mutagenesis and laser scanning confocal microscopy assay (LSCM) revealed that the transcription factor NF-kappaB is primarily responsible for C5b-9-mediated B7-H1 expression. To further detect the physiologic function of B7-H1, triggering B7-H1 with its agonist mAb (clone 5H1) profoundly enhanced Fas expression on C5b-9-treated TECs and thus induced TEC apoptosis. Interestingly, pretreatment of TECs with Fas blocking antibodies prevented this effect. Our results propose that C5b-9 regulates tubular pathogenesis in glomerulonephritis or other renal autoimmune diseases, possibly through enhances cell apoptosis mediated by B7-H1 signals, in addition to it directly promotes tubular damage.